On December 2, Iceland’s President mandated that Pirate Party Member of Parliament Birgitta Jónsdóttir form a government. In the October 2016 general election, the Pirate Party came in third, but the two top vote-getting parties, the Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement, failed to build a coalition large enough to run the country. It is now time for the Pirates!
The UK established a Pirate Party in 2009, again patterned after the Swedish party. Founded in Manchester, it espouses civil liberties, privacy, direct democracy, and other very sensible things, constrained only by the somewhat strange name. It has never managed to get anyone elected to the UK parliament, but a quick read of the pamphlet distributed in Manchester for the 2015 election demonstrates a very workable set of policies:
Given the state of recent political rhetoric in the UK and the US, consider the Pirate Codex. It lays out a simple set of principles that, despite being political, are remarkably non-partisan.
This is allegedly a check-in kiosk, allowing you to get a personal, human touch from a machine and not one of those impersonal people. Unfortunately, it would not let you check in.
Several things are of interest:
While laser printers abound in this particular clinic, and white paper is readily apparent, the message taped to the front of the screen is on yellow paper, and written in both ink and either lipstick or crayon.
The hand-written message, written by two different writers, claims that it is both “Coming Soon!” and “THIS IS OUT OF ORDER Don’t Use,” suggesting that coming soon the kiosk would be out of order.
Or maybe that should be reversed, and that it is currently out of order, and something else — order? — will soon be coming.
The nameplate at the bottom says the kiosk was made by Vecna Medical, and their registered slogan is “Better Technology. Better World.” Better technology than human receptionists? Than hand-written signs? And are we talking about this particular world, or some other world?
One more question: why is the kiosk turned on if it is not working?
The National Security Agency (NSA) has a large campus on Fort Meade, Maryland, protected by fences, barbed wire, police dogs, guards, and maybe a dragon or two. It is not visitor friendly.
But right outside of the campus is the National Cryptologic Museum, an old motel once used by visitors for housing guests. The motel is no longer a motel, but a rather casually laid out museum, sprawling through hallways and odd spaces, filled with artifacts on the art of sending, receiving, and stealing secret messages.
This formerly super-secret agency (nicknamed “No Such Agency,” as even the name was a secret) recently displayed a sign in the entrance claiming it was a Pokémon Go stop, which is a major step forward into the world of publicity.
Right inside, and probably to the great surprise of the British Museum, is the Rosetta Stone, one of the best examples of coding from the ancient world,
The museum houses artifacts that may not so obviously be associated with cryptology, such as a hunk of wreckage from Gary Powers’ U-2 surveillance aircraft, shot down over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960. The Soviets fired fourteen missiles at the high-flying U-2, finally hitting it with an S-75 Dvina, specially designed for the attempt. The Soviets also accidentally shot down one of their own MiG-19 fighters, sent up in an attempt to intercept the U-2.
The wreckage of the U-2 fell almost 14 miles before hitting the ground. A piece of that wreckage was presented to the US by Russia in 1994.